Skip to main content

Full text of "My Country And My People"

See other formats

138          MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPL1

disadvantages, have been prevented from holding stenographic
positions or judicial posts, but women have ruled nevertheless
in the home, apart from those debauchee households where
women have become toys. Even in these homes some of the
concubines manage to rule their lords. And what is still more
important, women have been deprived of every right, but they
have never been deprived of the right to marry. To every girl
born in China a home of her own is provided. Society insists
that even slave-girls should be married off at proper age. Mar-
riage is women's only inalienable right in China, and with the
enjoyment of that right they have the best weapon for power,
as wife and as mother.

There are two sides to this picture. Man has undoubtedly
been unfair to woman, yet it is interesting to see how sometimes
woman has her revenge. The total effect of the subjection of
women consists in the general recognition of the inferiority
of women, in women's self-abasement, in their deprivation of
the social advantages of the men, in their lesser education and
knowledge, in their cheaper, harder and less free lives, and in
the double sex standard. The oppression of women is more the
invisible sort, resulting from the general recognition of their
inferiority. Where there is no love between husband and wife
the husband may be very autocratic, and in such cases the wife
has no other recourse but submission. The women merely
endure family autocracy as the Chinese people endure political
autocracy. But no one dare say there are more autocratic
husbands or less happy marriages in China, for reasons
we shall soon see. The women are expected not to be garrulous,
not to gad about from family to family, and not to look at men
in the streets. But many of them are extremely garrulous, many
of them gad about from family to family, and many of them
look at men in the streets. They are expected to be virtuous,
while men are not, but this is not such a great hardship, since
most women are naturally chaste. They are deprived of the
consideration and social advantages which Western women
enjoy, but once they get used to it, they don't care about going
to mixed parties, for they have their social occasions and home
parties as well, and just as little do they care for the privileges
of policing the streets or peddling iron wares. In fact, all the